Google Analytics: Visits Now Sessions & Unique Visitors Now Users


Google Analytics LogoGoogle Analytics has quietly changed the terminology they use within the reports to change what they call "visits" and "unique visitors."

Now, visits is named "sessions" and unique visitors is named "users."

Savvy Analytics users noticed the change last night and posted it on Google+.

Here is a screen shot:

Google Analytics: Visits Now Sessions & Unique Visitors Now Users

Technically, nothing seems to have changed outside of the terminology used in the Google Analytics report.

Google, as far as I can see, has not yet announced this change.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Update: Google has announced this now on Google+ saying:

This product change can affect you in different ways, based on how your account is set up and what kind of data you collect and send to Google Analytics.

The Visitors web metric and Active Users app metric are now unified under the same name, Users. And, Visits are now referred to as Sessions everywhere in all of Google Analytics. We’ll be making these changes starting today, and rolling them out incrementally over the next week.

If you collect and send both web and app hits to one property in your Google Analytics account, all your hits will appear in all your reporting views starting today. If you want to keep your web and app data separate, you need to add a filter to your reporting views.

If you don’t send web and app data to the same property in your account, your data stays the same.

Everyone, however, will see the unified metric, dimension, and segment names in their reports.

Until today, some metrics and dimensions used different names in app views and in web views, even though they presented the exact same data. Now, all metric, dimensions, and segment names are the same, regardless if they’re used for web or app data. This gives you a clear and consistent way to analyze and refer to all of your Google Analytics data.

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04/17/2014 12:48 pm

I swear Google just does these things so that nothing is ever the same from last month when I do month end reports.


04/17/2014 02:26 pm

I noticed too, but maybe I misinterpreted the definition of uniques: not returning visitors. The notation under users says: Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users.


04/17/2014 03:57 pm

Now you can't see how many unique visitors you have each month from desktop or mobile. It just shows SESSIONS for new and returning visitors, but you can't find the specific number of unique visits anywhere,

Abdul Wahab

04/17/2014 04:13 pm

"Users" section is the replacement of Unique Visitors.

Mathew Porter

04/17/2014 09:07 pm

I think this is Google Analytics helps identify why the change has come about:

Brian Wonch

04/18/2014 02:37 am

This change also affects dimension parameters in the GA core reporting API:

Shalin Shukla

04/18/2014 08:26 am

developers need some work ....

Arun Kallarackal

04/18/2014 10:41 am

Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Due to time constraints, have been unable to keep an eye on my blogs and analytics reports. Well, I'm not a heavy analytics user! I just use it to keep a tab on the progress my blogs make or the traffic loss they incur, that's it. Hope that this change in terminology will make me have any noticeable change in the way I use this tool! I found the link to this post on Kingged. Arun

Jamie Knop

04/18/2014 11:35 am

haha agree!


04/18/2014 08:37 pm

You gotta work on that bounce rate Barry :)

Mitch Menghi

04/19/2014 12:57 am

Just another thing to complete matters worse... lol

Chris Faron

04/19/2014 04:52 pm

I noticed it in the Italian version and thought they had just updated the translation....

Susan Reed

04/21/2014 02:10 pm

I'm glad Google changed the terminology from Visits to Sessions.This way the actual number of times a website is visited (assumed to be by different users) won't come across as inflated.

Susan Parker

04/21/2014 03:06 pm

The text refers to sessions, but the graphics all still refer to "Visits"


04/22/2014 05:26 pm

I hate it. Google will carry on convoluting everything because they have to feel as though they are being innovative. When in fact they are just being highly irritating to users. They've ruined Google maps now they've ruined analytics. Google - if something works fine - leave it alone and stop alienating people!!

William Forrest

04/23/2014 05:41 am

Those changes doesn't affect any data in your Google Analytics. They are just terminologies. So nothing to worry about it. Now it was easy to understand some data with those terminologies.

Norton Loomer

04/30/2014 07:25 pm

Seems like you are overreacting to this update. They changed two words. Relax.

Ryne Landers

05/01/2014 04:19 pm

Well, that's why you had "Visits" and "Unique Visitors".

Susan Reed

05/01/2014 04:39 pm

Yes, but often times the people reading the report didn't understand that the same person could have several sessions open at the same time so I was questioned why the numbers didn't match. They just didn't get it. Now I get to explain what Sessions are - so hopefully they will get it now.

Cindy Turrietta

05/05/2014 02:30 am

You're the bomb, thanks for posting this Barry, I was wondering what was going on. Figured Google must have changed some things. Do you ever wonder why Google doesn't just let us know about stuff like this? Sheesh! ;-)


05/08/2014 07:31 pm

Off topic, but have been wondering, what is your average bounce rate? I'm looking to gauge what others experience regardless of what type of site you manage.

Jeff B

05/14/2014 09:53 pm

I agree, every month something is new and I have to figure out what has changed. Also the statement "Unique Visitors" = "Users" is not necessiarly true. or in some places I find different amounts. I ran a comparison against Session verse Users, then exported a report in Excel for the month the Screen stated 2229 Users, but the report in Excel had a total of 3383 Users listed. So which is correct the exported report showing daily amounts or what google display on the Audience Overview graphic? they don't match!

Shane Rae

05/27/2014 03:35 pm

Ive been looking everywhere for answers to this. "Users' includes both new and returning visitors according to Google- so how DO we now get Unique Visitor stats?


05/29/2014 12:41 am

Are Users really Unique Visitors? If you hover over 'Users' it says it includes both new and returning visitors, so how can it be uniques?


05/29/2014 02:41 pm

I can't figure this out either. Did you find a solution?

Shane Rae

05/29/2014 02:59 pm

Yes. 'Users' is definitely New + Returning visitors to find the separation go to Audience > Behaviour> New vs Returning


06/01/2014 12:37 pm

In custom report of Google Analytics, the term User comes with 2 different definition, as below; i) Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users. ii) All users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users. I'm confuse with which one should I choose because both resulted in different figures.


06/08/2014 06:15 am

I am suspecting that Users on the screen is "Unique Visitors" That is if customer A return to your site 3 times within your data range, it will still count as 1. But on the graph and also in the export, since they are showing on different dates, each time will count as 1, so it will be total of 3. That is why the export file or when you add it yourself on the graph is greater than the "User" number on the screen. Can someone confirm on this?


06/29/2014 12:57 pm

Thanks for clearing things up, more clearly. I saw the changes a few months ago.


07/03/2014 02:39 pm

Hi Guys - My Sessions is bigger than Page Views - I don't think that Sessions equal to Visits - how can I have more Visits than Page Views? They came to my website without view any page?


07/17/2014 11:15 pm

On the newly released iOS app from Google, we seem to be back to Visits and Unique Visitors. Comparing the numbers between web and iOS, Visits=Sessions but Unique Visitors>Users by about 20%.

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